Facing incendiary charges that health-care reform would result in government financing of abortion and euthanasia, President Obama has made an unusual appeal to religious groups to help sell the plan and debunk critics’ “false witness.”
Retired Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Joseph Lowery, a longtime U.S. civil rights activist, were among recipients August 12 of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Each has been an agent of change,” President Obama said of the 16 people who received the nation’s highest civilian honor.
When President Obama named his choices for his administration’s two top medical posts, he chose people of public acclaim whose faith positions may put them out of step with conservative believers—but in tune with White House pragmatism.
Iran is a young country: the median age is about 26. Young Iranians, who are connected to the outside world through the Internet and satellite TV, made their presence known in the streets as they protested the outcome of Iran’s presidential election.
President Obama signed long-sought legislation June 22 authorizing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products, and among those cheering were the 25 faith groups in the Faith United Against Tobacco coalition. “Better late than never,” said Wesley “Pat” Padillo, a key advocacy official for the National Council of Churches.
President Obama’s plan to give all Americans the option of a government-run health insurance plan got a frigid reception in June from the American Medical Association, the nation’s leading lobbying group for physicians. Offering a public plan would “restrict patient choice by driving out private insurers,” the AMA warned in a statement before Obama appeared before the group.
Prominent religious officials led a march to the White House last month to urge President Obama to form a commission of inquiry into interrogation practices under the Bush administration. The clerics and other senior religious leaders and supporters who joined them for the “public witness” formed a crowd adorned with robes, collars, hijabs and yarmulkes.